What Parts Of A Computer Are Worth Recycling?

Do you have a few old desktop computers, laptops, or even tablets that can't be brought back up to speed? If upgrades are out of the question or they're too broken to fix, there's a way to get a bit of money back through scrapping these electronics. Whether you just want to turn the devices in or break things down to the component level, here are a few recycling points to help you make the most out of a computer past its prime.

What's On The Motherboard?

Circuit board recycling is a critical part of electronics recycling because there are so many components that are attached and so many materials that facilitate high-speed data transfer. Almost everything that the world appreciates in today's technology is thanks to teamwork between advances in programming and advances in making electricity move really fast with high precision.

This means that circuit boards usually have a decent amount of copper, gold, or tungsten to scrap. These materials aren't usually enough for someone to scrape off for their own pile unless they're rounding off ingot sizes or working on a project that needs just a bit of gold, but recycling professionals can take the boards to scrap with their more automated and precise equipment.

In computers, the largest circuit board is the motherboard. Attached to the motherboard is a set of slots and sockets for other circuit boards called expansion cards, which usually come in the form of a video/graphics card, sound card, network interface card (NIC), or old dial-up modems that were replaced in function by NICs.

These expansion cards also have recyclable materials and may include heavier components such as aluminum or copper heat sinks. Processors are another set of motherboard-mounted components and include gold pins that can be scraped off only if you're sure that the processor is already useless. Processors made within the last decade are usually still worth far more than the gold pins alone.

Other Recyclable Components

Heat sinks are included in all electronics that generate electricity, but in different shapes and sizes. In desktop computers, heat sinks are solid blocks with fins protruding from the top. In laptops and mobile devices, heat sinks are actually pipes made of copper that both route air and provide heat transfer.

The power supply also connects to the motherboard, but by a cable. These boxes are aluminum with a few bands of thick copper wire, but be careful. The capacitors can hold a dangerous electrical charge for days depending on the model, so either consult an electrician for safe discharge or consider turning the unit in as a complete component.

Contact a circuit board and electronics parts recycling service, such as Dabal & Sons Inc, to discuss the types of electronics in demand at recycling centers.